LOUDONVILLE — She’s unsure what to expect.
Siena women’s basketball head coach Ali Jaques is OK with that.
She brings a young, unproven roster into the 2019-20 season, and the Saints’ season-opening 5 p.m. Tuesday game against Binghamton offers the coach a first chance to see how this season’s squad responds when it counts.
That opportunity, Jaques said, is what most excites her ahead of Siena’s opener at Times Union Center in Albany.
“Not knowing what to expect. Honestly. I’m excited about the unknown,” Jaques said last week. “Everyone wants me to give a prediction on who is going to score and who is going to do what, and I’m not really sure who is going to show up when the lights are on.”
Off a 12-18 season that ended in the first round of the MAAC tournament, Siena brings a revamped approach into the 2019-20 season. The Saints plan to play faster on offense and shoot more 3-pointers than a season ago when they averaged 58.1 points per game and shot 38 percent from the field.
“Offensively, we’re trying to instill a lot of confidence and put players in positions where they can personally be successful,” Jaques said. “That will help our team be successful.”
The team, though, has only one proven scorer at the college level. That’s senior Sabrina Piper, the only player Jaques committed to last week as a starter. Beyond that, Siena will need returning players to step up and its freshmen to contribute right away.
“Absolutely. I think they’re pretty good,” Jaques said of the chance that multiple members of her freshman class, a group highlighted by Julia Hauer and Ashley Williamson, will play heavy minutes this season.
Binghamton is coming off a 12-18 season that ended with a loss against UAlbany in the America East Conference quarterfinals. Binghamton’s starting lineup is likely to include senior Carly Boland, a former star at Shenendehowa High School.
After playing Binghamton, Siena will play back-to-back road games at Penn and Harvard. Jaques has been optimistic about her team’s chances this season, and said she wants to see the Saints bring to the regular season the mentality they’ve shown throughout the preseason.
“Our team’s playing with a lot of energy,” Jaques said. “They’re helping each other. They’re really good teammates to each other, and they’ve been the kind of team that when they do have a bad day, they come back with something to prove — and that’s my kind of team.”
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Categories: College Sports, Sports